Accessories Make the Man

We all know accessories add the finishing touch to a woman’s outfit, but did you know the category is equally important to men? According to GQ Links, a new newsletter from the publishers of GQ magazine, men rely on accessories to express their personal styles as much as women do. Whether it’s an elegant watch, cufflinks, or a deluxe briefcase, men are drawn to accessories. Not surprisingly, men focus particular attention—and discretionary income—on watches. In many cases, a man’s watch is as important as his car, and he takes the same care in learning about a watch’s performance and function that he takes in learning about a car’s.

GQ Links also points out that as dress codes for business loosen up and luxury becomes increasingly important to men’s fashion, accessories are following suit, often combining relaxed styling with refined elegance. For example, a man might switch from a rigid briefcase to a tailored leather messenger bag. Other trends to watch, according to the newsletter, are the relaxed suit worn with an open, straight-collar shirt and no tie; renewed interest in khaki, especially for suits; and continuation of the “urban fatigue” and cargo pant look.

An Egg Fabergé Could Love

Mayor’s Jewelers, the Florida-based luxury chain, has created its latest work in jewelry art, the “Mayor’s Princess-Cut Diamond Egg.” Inspired by the work of Peter Carl Fabergé, the Mayor’s egg is sheathed in invisibly set diamonds and was created using the latest in CAD-CAM jewelry design and setting techniques.

The handcrafted Mayor’s egg is composed of 870 individually cut and set princess-cut diamonds totaling 181 cts. The egg stands 65.5 mm high (a little more than 2.5 in.) and is 88 mm in diameter (approximately 3.5 in.). It retails for $600,000.

Millennium Colors

The influx of color, which made big news in the apparel and jewelry industries last spring, will show continued strength through the year 2000, according to both the Pantone Color Institute and the Color Marketing Group. Both organizations are largely responsible for predicting (or dictating?) which colors will be “in” or “out” for products as diverse as pantyhose and automobiles.

According to reports in Women’s Wear Daily and American Demographics magazine, “in” colors will have a tribal, ethnic quality or be influenced by the landscape of Australia, host country for the 2000 summer Olympic games, to be held in Sydney. The hottest color will be burnt orange. Orange, say color experts, has always been more popular in Europe than in the United States and more accepted in upscale markets than in mass markets.

Other shades expected to trend up are skin tones, earth tones, pale peach tones, and cool, restful, harmonious shades of blue, pink, and green. Overall, look for color tones to be light or, if deeper, to have a subtlety missing in some of the decade’s earlier neon shades.

The Last ‘World’

fter 35 years, NBC’s beloved daytime soap opera, Another World, has gone off the air. In the final episode, diamond jewelry from Lazare Kaplan graced actress Lisa Peluso, whose character, “Lila Roberts,” married “Cass Winthrop,” played by Steven Schnetzer. The “bride” wore Lazare Kaplan’s Infinity necklace, which features 17 cts. of oval Lazare diamonds set in platinum. Her “attendant” and “flower girl” were likewise adorned with Lazare diamonds. The bridesmaid wore the Icicle necklace, 40.22 cts. of shimmering diamonds cascading like icicles set in platinum, and the flower girl wore the firm’s diamond heart with 16 diamonds, 1.2 cts. total.

Design Discoveries

A Model Designer

Although she left the high-fashion runways of Europe for a design studio in Manhattan, former fashion model Orlanda Olsen applies the exuberance, style, proportion, and quality of clothes designing to her fine jewelry designs. Her earliest memories of jewelry include a series of twisted-wire bracelets created as a child for her mother. Throughout her modeling career, she continued to design jewelry, largely as a self-taught craftsperson. Olsen recognized the need for formal training, however, and expanded her knowledge through courses in the United States and Europe.

With true fashion sense, Olsen strives for dramatic impact with her designs, which frequently pair large colored gemstones and diamonds in bold settings. She says she believes jewelry should evoke an emotional response in the wearer and the viewer. Some of her most popular designs are statement-making rings set with large colored cabochons, beaded necklaces with detachable colored gemstone centerpieces, and bold bracelets with softened geometric shapes.

In addition to making a statement of style, Olsen’s jewelry is characterized by a keen sense of proportion and meticulous attention to detail. With the needs of the contemporary woman in mind, Olsen designed many of her pieces to be worn several ways. For example, her signature square- or oval-shank ring opens by a hidden clasp to become a link bracelet. A gold and diamond pendant changes from a folding heart into a question mark.

Olsen sells her collection to fine jewelry and specialty stores and has garnered an enthusiastic following through trunk shows and personal appearances. Retail prices range from $300 to $60,000; best-selling items range from $500 to $15,000. Orlanda Olsen Designs, 220 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016; (212) 689-2622.

Design Discoveries

So Romantic!

New York-based jewelry designer Mimi So burst onto the platinum jewelry scene with a series of delicate, feminine, and lacy groupings that reflect today’s clean but romantic design aesthetic. Drawing on her family’s jewelry-industry heritage and her own background in fashion and marketing, the designer/retailer developed a thriving business. Her collections include “Anzia,” a group of platinum pendants, earrings, and bracelets plus a few show-stopping dog collars composed of two to six rows of diamonds connected by fine-gauge platinum chains. The collection retails from $600 to $50,000. The “Flexible Hearts” collection features rings and bangle bracelets of interlocking, movable gold hearts in tricolor gold with matching tricolor diamond pavé. Also available are the “Jellybean” collection of bold, colorful gemstone rings; the “Golden Pearl” collection of natural golden South Seas pearls set in 18k yellow gold and accented with yellow diamonds; and her grouping of signature platinum engagement and wedding rings.

Mimi So made her debut in the Platinum Pavilion at the JCK Show in Las Vegas as well as at the recent summer Jewelers of America show in New York. Her jewelry spans a wide range of retail price points, beginning as low as $600 and going up to $50,000 and beyond.

Mimi So, 580 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10036; (212) 354-1407.

A Courtly Designer

Michael David Rafkind used to be a court stenographer. But the daily routine of sitting through countless depositions and trials couldn’t suppress his creative side. The breakthrough came in April 1996 during a trial that concerned a diamond heist. As Rafkind took down testimony, he grew increasingly fascinated with the subject matter. He enrolled in the Gemological Institute of America, earned a G.G. diploma, and completed GIA’s jewelry design program, then its jewelry manufacturing arts program. When he earned the title of Graduate Jeweler Gemologist with an honors degree in gold and precious metals, his career as a court stenographer was history. That was scarcely more than a year ago, in May 1998. A month later, he founded Michael David Designs Ltd. and made his industry debut this year in the designer pavilion of the Mid-America Fine Jewelry Show, held Aug. 28-29 in Columbus, Ohio.

Rafkind’s line consists of diamond-intensive platinum and 18k gold jewelry that combines today’s hip trends with yesterday’s traditional styles. “Creating altered variations on one style allows me to touch upon a special look that reaches out to every generation, in a myriad of price points,” explains the designer. The foundation of his line is the “Fifth Avenue” collection, which includes diamond pavé rings and textured 18k two-tone gold. His other collections include “Legacy,” “Nautilus,” and “Harper” bracelets that contain 3 cts. to 6 cts. of diamonds.

Michael David Designs Ltd., 580 Fifth Ave., Suite 914, New York, NY 10036; (212) 398-6222.

Collingwood Previews Designer Collections

Collingwood & Co. Ltd., one of London’s premier fine jewelers, is opening its doors to a series of unique designer collections this fall. Founded in 1814, the store is located in the heart of London and known for cutting-edge designs as well as exquisite classic jewelry, including a large collection of unique pearl designs.

Francesca Bristol makes her debut in October. Her dramatic designs were inspired by visits to Morocco, India, and Indonesia as well as her childhood in Andalusia. Her jewelry is bold and sculptural, pairing large, exotic gemstones in wire-wrapped and cast-silver settings. Bold pendants are sold on leather cords.

Coleman Douglas Pearls, a high-fashion collection designed by Christianne Douglas, is slated for a November show. This award-winning collection, which includes a couture range, a fashion group, and a bridal selection, mixes akoya and freshwater pearls with colored gemstones in dramatic, flowing designs. Signature looks are bold, tiered collars and bibs, arm bands, and cascades of pearls that wrap the body.

Collingwood & Co. Ltd., 171 New Bond St., London W1Y 9PB, England; (44 171) 734-2656, fax (44 171) 629-5418.

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